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January 22, 2011

Is There a Population Time Bomb?

For years we’ve been told that the world population will be 9 billion by 2050, after which the population will remain constant. The question is, how can that many people be fed? Won’t there be cataclysmic famine?

There is good news! Via Wendy McElroy, I encountered the essay The Population Timebomb is a Myth by Dominic Lawson.

Lawson writes of a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers arguing that existing technologies can feed that many people today. What is needed, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, is refrigeration and good roads.

Another report validates this. Lawson continues . . .

Interestingly, another detailed report on “sustainability” published last week by the French national agricultural and development research agencies came up with the same answer. The French scientists set themselves the goal of discovering whether a global population of 9 billion, the likely peak according to the UN, could readily have access to 3,000 calories a day, even as farms take measures to cut down on the use of fossil fuels and refrain from cutting down more forests: their answer was, you will be thrilled to know, “yes”.

This is already a world of plenty, and who knows what technology will bring over the next forty years. We can choose to unleash the human spirit, or use political means to hold ourselves back.


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